Moving house is often cited as being one of the most stressful things which you can do. Certainly, anything which involves a big change can be stressful. It is also a time where there is an awful lot to remember. If you have pets, don’t overlook the impact on them of moving house.
Animals are generally pretty attached to their own territory and like things to stay the same. The lead up to moving house can be a stressful time for pets as well as people. The upheaval of packing and sorting can be disruptive and disorientating for animals. Follow our advice on the dos and don’ts of moving house with pets to help them feel at ease in their new home as quickly as possible.
If possible, try and find a friend or relative who can look after your pets on moving day. This can make things easier for both you and your pet. You, because you don’t have to worry about them getting in the way, and for them, they will be away from all the unusual activity and what would probably be a pretty stressful situation. If you have strangers in your home packing and moving boxes, this could be especially worrying for a dog. Cats on the other hand have a habit of removing themselves from stressful environments – this may mean that they are not easy to find when it comes to leaving!
If you are unable to find someone who can look after your pets for you away from your home, try and keep them in a single room which is away from the worst of the noise and activity. This could be a room which has been cleared of items prior to moving day. Making sure that they have access to their usual toys and bedding will help them to be calmer.
For this reason, try and avoid packing up your pets things until the end so that there are familiar items around them. Resist washing pet bedding for a couple of weeks prior to moving so that they have a familiar smelling item in the new property.
Make sure that you update your pets microchip and veterinary records to ensure that should they go missing in a new, unfamiliar area they can be traced back to the correct address.
It is probably best not to feed animals just before leaving, especially if you have a long journey ahead. Animals can get car sick as well as people and this is probably not something you want to be dealing with on top of all the other stresses of moving!
When you get to your new home, make sure that you check your garden to make sure it is secure before letting your dog out on its own. Check for any weak areas of boundary or places where they may be able to escape. Most people advocate not letting a cat out for at least a week when moving to allow it to get its bearings. Don’t forget you will need a litter tray and some litter, especially if you don’t normally use one.
It is possible that a move will mean that your pet’s behaviour changes whilst they adjust to their new home – this may require some patience and understanding with regard to unwanted behaviour like chewing or fouling. Trying to maintain your usual feeding and walking routines can help to reduce stress and help animals to settle into their new environment sooner. Any unwanted behaviours should quickly stop once things settle down.
For more advice on moving home with pets see the articles below.